An exciting event in Montpellier, a charming southern city of France. As of December 21, residents can now enjoy the convenience of public transport entirely free of charge, a move that sets Montpellier apart and mirrors similar initiatives in Tallinn and Luxembourg in 2013 and 2020, respectively.
This progressive step is credited to Michael Delafosse, the city’s socialist mayor, who fulfilled his 2020 election promise by introducing free public transport for residents. The initiative initially granted free rides on weekends and later expanded to cover the entire week for individuals under 18 and over 65.
The impact of this change is evident in the numbers, with residents contributing to a substantial 90 percent of the €39 million spent on tickets in 2022. Following the announcement of the free version, the number of pass subscriptions tripled from 86,000 to an impressive 260,000, as reported by AFP.
Managing this initiative involves a transport tax applicable to companies with more than 11 employees, providing a sustainable source of funding to cover the cost. It’s worth noting that tourists will still be required to pay for public transport, but the fees remain reasonable, with a single journey ticket costing just €1.60.
This move aligns with the broader trend of making public transport more accessible to locals, contributing to the positive momentum seen in the launch of affordable rail passes in France, Germany, and Portugal throughout the year. Montpellier’s commitment to sustainable and inclusive transportation sets an inspiring example for cities worldwide.